Convert Legacy Backup Format Plans to New Backup Format

Starting with version 7.1 of the Windows online backup agent, we introduced the new backup format (NBF) which changed the way backups are created and stored. New backup features will only be available in the NBF, while the legacy format will remain supported in the current state. Starting with version 7.8.3 of the Backup Agent and version 3.19.130 of the MSP360 PowerShell Module, you can convert legacy plans to the new backup format.

The main benefit of converting your legacy format plans to NBF is that you will be able to access new features, while the Backup Agent will continue to keep track of old backups and remove them according to the retention policy settings. Without conversion (e.g. just creating a new NBF plan), you need to manually remove the old data when you are ready. To know more about differences between the legacy and new backup format, check this article.

Keep in mind that the following plans cannot be converted to the new backup format:

  • Microsoft SQL Server
  • Microsoft Exchange
  • Hybrid plans

After the conversion, most plans will need to have the schedule and retention settings updated manually. While the converter will attempt to match the scheduling and retention settings of the legacy format, this is often not possible due to the new options only available in the NBF. Those settings will need to be updated manually via MBS, or with the MSP360 PowerShell Module.

To install the MSP360 PowerShell Module, follow the instructions from this article.

The cmdlet that lets you convert the legacy plan to the new format is Convert-MBSBackupPlanToNBF. We recommend you follow the next steps to perform conversion:

  1. Find a typical plan configuration to test conversion with and run the following command:
Convert-MBSBackupPlanToNBF -Name "Backup Plan Name" -Whatif

The command will output warnings if some parameters cannot be converted "as is". If that happens, you will need to update those settings after the conversion.

  1. Perform conversion of that plan with the following command:
Convert-MBSBackupPlanToNBF -Name "Backup Plan Name" -PurgeLegacy $true -Force

The -Force flag will allow conversion of the plan regardless of warnings. A warning message will be reported with a list of all changes applied to the plan. The -PurgeLegacy parameter enables tracking of legacy format backups and will allow the agent to automatically remove them according to the retention policy of the resulting plan.

Note that converting plans back to the legacy format is not possible. In case you need an option to return back to the old configuration of backups, you can export the configuration with the Export-MBSAgentConfig cmdlet before the conversion.

File backup plans are upgraded into the new backup format without scheduled full backup. You will need to schedule the full backup for retention settings to work.

Here are a few examples of the complete process of converting a legacy backup plan to the new format, with the addition of editing the resulting plan with the Edit-MBSNBFBackupPlan:

Example 1: Converts a file-level backup plan to the new format and sets the new schedule

Convert-MBSBackupPlanToNBF -Name "File-Level plan to NAS" -PurgeLegacy $true -Force
Edit-MBSNBFBackupPlan -FileLevel -Name "File-Level plan to NAS" -RecurringType day -At 22:00 -RecurringTypeForceFull week -weekdayForceFull sa

The first command will perform the conversion, and the second command will edit the resulting plan and configure schedule settings to it.

The command should be considered a bare minimum to run after conversion of a file-level backup plan to ensure that the retention policy settings will be applied.

Example 2: Converts an image-based backup plan to the new format, enable backup of all fixed drives and set the Forever Foward Incremental schedule and retention

Convert-MBSBackupPlanToNBF -Name "Image-Based plan to Cloud" -PurgeLegacy $true -Force
Edit-MBSNBFBackupPlan -ImageBased -Name "Image-Based plan to Cloud" -BackupVolumes FixedVolumes -RecurringType day -At 21:00 -ForeverForwardIncremental $true -IntelligentRetention $true -KeepVersionPeriod 30

If the original legacy plan had schedule settings (both, incremental and full) then it will be converted nicely for an Image-Based backup. But to make the resulting plan run in the Forever Forward Incremental mode, you need to specify the schedule and retention period again, using the parameters in the second command.

Example 3: Converts a file-level backup plan to the new backup format, enables GFS settings

Convert-MBSBackupPlanToNBF -Name "File-Level plan to Cloud" -PurgeLegacy $true -Force
Edit-MBSNBFBackupPlan -FileLevel -Name "File-Level plan to Cloud" -RecurringType day -At 20:00 -RecurringTypeForceFull week -weekdayForceFull sa -KeepVersionPeriod 30 -GFSKeepWeekly 4 -GFSKeepMonthly 12 -GFSKeepYearly 7 -GFSMonthOfTheYear January

The second command will set all GFS settings in the plan after conversion. Because the schedule mechanism changed in the new format (compared to the legacy format), setting the full schedule is needed in order for the GFS settings to work.

Example 4: Converts all legacy file-level backup plans with one command (in a pipeline)

Get-MBSBackupPlan -StorageType All -PlanFormat Legacy -PlanType File-Level | Convert-MBSBackupPlanToNBF -PurgeLegacy $true -PassThru -Force | ForEach-Object -Begin { $i=0 } -Process { $_ | Edit-MBSNBFBackupPlan -All -RecurringType day -At (([datetime]'17:00').AddHours($i).ToString()) -RecurringTypeForceFull week -weekdayForceFull sa; $i+=3 }

The purpose of this script is the same as in example 1. But this time we take any legacy file-level plan that is found on the machine, convert it to NBF, and configure the schedule settings in a way that their backup jobs do not overlap with each other. For that, we increment the start time in hours by 3 for every next plan in the list. For example, if the command will find 3 backup plans and we assume they always complete within 3 hours, the start time for the first plan will be set to 5:00 PM, for the second - 8:00 PM, and for the third - 11:00 PM.

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